Specialist Project

Existing cannabis advertisements


This campaign has a negative tone of voice as the headline incorporated into the design for the poster reads “smoking marijuana wastes potential” this can have a negative effect on viewers of the campaign especially users of cannabis as they may feel there is no point quitting if they have wasted their potential. The imagery furthers this message as half of the picture shows a person sitting by the edge of the swimming pool contemplating life and potential decision they have made in life and the other half of the advert shows a reflection in the water of that same person competing in a swimming in a competition and winning.


This campaign also features a negative tone of voice as the headline reads “smoking marijuana wastes relationships” this is basically saying that if you smoke cannabis you lose friendships and connections and this is not relevant to all users of cannabis as most people smoke cannabis to socialise and people also hold down jobs and still consume the drug so this campaign poster is slightly misleading.



The information incorporated into this campaign is misleading as it states that cannabis is worser than heroin and this can lead to users of cannabis choosing to switch from smoking cannabis to using heroin, which is a much more addictive drug than cannabis. So I feel in order to portray the correct message you need to select the correct tone of voice as that is a key essential when it comes to a sensitive subject like cannabis. The joint within this campaign has been made up of type with words associated with the use of cannabis and the negativity surrounding the substance and effects it can have on the human body.


This is another campaign I have gathered surrounding the use of cannabis, I have done this in order to familiarise myself with the tone of voice used and the layout as well as imagery used in order to portray the message the campaign is intending to inform the public of. the tone of voice within this campaign is informative and also supportive as it provides links for people to get in contact with in order to receive help for their use of cannabis, it also provides quotes and information from trusted sources like Cancer research UK making it believable and more relatable.


I like the visual style within this campaign as it is aesthetically pleasing, due to the illustrated image and the contrast within colour, the tone of voice within this campaign is authoritative and also informative and this may lead to people choosing to ignore the message as this tone of voice can put people of and feel as though they have heard it all before.

I have looked at existing campaign created in order to inform the public of the implications that can occur from smoking cannabis, I have done this in order to gain an insight into the tone of voice used whether that be formal, informative or serious and overly harsh to decide what I feel the best tone of voice is for my specific target, which is current frequent cannabis users between 16-19. I have also looked at existing advertisements and campaign regarding cannabis in order to look at the imagery used and they typographic elements that have been incorporated into the design in order to target certain audiences or to be aesthetically pleasing in order to gain the attention of viewers to the campaigns.

Current brief regarding my Specialist project

Project Introduction/Background:

This project is based on a personal scope of research that has been gathered regarding cannabis and the use of the drug recreationally in order to gain an insight into the negative effect of consuming the drug regularly. The research findings from this scope of interest have discovered that cannabis high in traces of THC can have negative impacts on the mental state of frequent users as well as potentially reducing their IQ by 8 point if frequently used within the teenage years. Cannabis can also increase heart rate therefore potentially increasing the chance of a heart attack as well as potentially affecting fertility and the potential development and risk of a premature baby.

Project aims and intentions:

The aim and intention of the project is to inform frequent users of cannabis to the implications that can occur from choosing to consume the substance on the brain and body, in order to potentially gain their attention and possibly question their consumption of the drug.

Target Audience:

The target audience for this brief should be aimed at frequent cannabis users between the ages of 16-19 as from carrying out research and questionnaires I have found out that they are aware to some of the implications but not all of them nor are they worried or interested and I feel this is an audience that needs to be targeted and informed of some of the implications that can occur from smoking cannabis regularly.

Tone of Voice:

I intend for my tone of voice to be informative, formal and to some extent helpful in order to gain the attention of the public and for viewers to then potentially pass on the information gained in order to spread an informative message or meaning regarding the use of cannabis.


Due to knowing people personally who have smoked cannabis and have been affected both physically and mentally by the drug, the inside knowledge acquired can be used in order to inform of the potential consequences that can occur from using the drug.

SWOT analysis:

Strengths: The information gained from the research can be used in a positive way to inform the public of the implications and both the effects and affects of smoking cannabis in order to potentially decide to quit smoking the drug.

Weaknesses: People might decide that they don’t want to take in the information and blank it all together, which will therefore not be beneficial in any way to both the public and creator, as it wont meet the main aim, which is to inform the public.

Opportunities: The research regarding cannabis can be used to add an insight into the effects of cannabis and how it can impact people’s health and how they live in society and further the campaign of the government in deciding not to regulate the use of cannabis for medical reasons in the UK.

Threats: Companies and councils such as Frank have already created campaigns and ads in order to try and deter the public from consuming cannabis, which can therefore have an impact on my ideas and research findings.

The Brief:

Begin to raise awareness into the affects of cannabis for both smokers and non-smokers of the drug regarding the implication on the human body and brain, as well as come to a decision as what is the best way to portray the message in order to gain recognition.

Once the target audience has been understood and analysed, begin to create profiles of potential people who may view the information you provide, in order to create visuals and informative creations that may engage viewers in some way.

Carry out research into existing campaigns regarding the use of cannabis in order to see how information is portrayed and also identify what tone of voice they use within the campaigns and advertisements whether that be formal, informative, judgmental etc.

Look at ways of portraying information and facts through mediums such as info graphics in order to see if visual means can be used in order to portray research findings regarding cannabis.

Develop a range of ideas and visualizations based on the research findings and begin to create prototypes and concepts that could potentially be used to inform the public of the affects of consuming cannabis.

Carry out further research into cannabis in order to see if new data, stats and facts have been revealed in order to potentially further knowledge and stay relevant to new information.

Follow the design process created based on the way in which you work, in order to come to a clear and coherent decision regarding the direction of the project.


Create a campaign, which can be used in order to inform the public of the implications that can occur from smoking cannabis regarding human health and the brain, as my research has informed me that cannabis causes more harm than it does good.

Other Consideration/ Additional information:

Possibly create a video or some sort of media to back up the campaign and research findings regarding cannabis and the effects on the human body and mind in order to further the message and to also gain more exposure and attention from viewers.

Research findings regarding cannabis 

The study found that people who smoked marijuana on a daily basis for a long period of time — five years or more — had poorer verbal memory in middle age than people who didn’t smoke, or who smoked less.

This association remained even after researchers controlled for a variety of other factors known to affect cognitive performance, including age, education, use of other substances and depression.


Previous research has found that marijuana can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which could tip a vulnerable individual over into heart attack territory.


I have gathered some more research into cannabis and the effects that can occur from choosing to consume the drug regularly in order to further my knowledge and for my information to stay relevant and current to recent findings, from this body of research I have carried out, I have found out that people who have smoked cannabis regularly for a long period pf time suffered from poorer verbal memory in middle age.



Cannabis, the Brain, and the Central Nervous System


Inspiration for possible campaign design



These are two examples of what I would like my visuals I want to include in my campaign to look like with the pealing back effect used in order to reveal the body part my campaign will be linked to whether that be the brain, heart or lungs. As I feel this could be effective and potentially open the eyes of regular users as to the implication of smoking cannabis and visually reveal the truth of smoking the drug, which Is why I feel like this effect could be effective as I can use it to communicate with viewers of the campaign.



I also like this concept of paper being ripped an revealing another image in order to communicate before and after, I feel this could be used in my campaign to communicate cannabis and then revealing the body part i am providing information about, in order to almost uncover and reveal information that may no be known to regular users in order to gain their attention.

Infographic style inspiration




Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge in order to portray information clearly, coherently as well as quickly, I also feel this is a good way of representing information as it has aesthetic qualities over simply heavy text based campaigns, as I feel that method of portraying information doesn’t engage viewers at all to take in the information.

Potential social media campaign 

I could potentially set up social media pages on both Twitter and Facebook that provide an insight into the effects of consuming cannabis and also informs frequent users as to the consequences that can occur from regular and persistent use after a period of time. I could also create a potential set of three infographics to support my campaign and incorporate into social media where people can share and like the ads in order to further the message.

Target audience

The target audience for this brief should be aimed at frequent cannabis users between the ages of 16-19 as from carrying out research and questionnaires I have found out that they are aware to some of the implications but not all of them nor are they worried or interested and I feel this is an audience that needs to be targeted and informed of some of the implications that can occur from smoking cannabis regularly.

Personal Personas of target audience


Name: Mike

Age: 16

Job occupation: unemployed ( last year of high school)

Lives: Preston


  • Lives with parents
  • Likes to socialise with friends
  • Interested in music
  • Does photography in spare time
  • Hangs around local park
  • Favorite colour: blue
  • From Preston


Name: Helen

Age: 17

Job occupation: cleaner(college student)

Lives: Burnely


  • Lives alone
  • Likes to go clothes shopping
  • Currently working at local super market
  • Dropped out of school early
  • Favorite colour: violet
  • Likes to relax and watch TV
  • Likes to listen to music
  • From Burnley


Name: Marcus

Age: 18

Job occupation: unemployed (seeking work)

Lives: Manchester


  • Lives alone
  • Likes to socialise with friends
  • Kicked out of college
  • Favorite colour: Red
  • Likes to relax and watch TV
  • Likes to listen to music
  • From Manchester


Name: Zoe

Age: 19

Job occupation: Barmaid

Lives: Newcastle


  • Lives alone
  • Likes to socialise with friends
  • Never went on to college
  • Favorite colour: Blue
  • Likes to relax and watch TV
  • Likes to go on nights out with friends
  • From Newcastle

Initial sketches




Ambient media ideas



Infographic/leaflet ideas




Tear away magazine ad idea

I have thought about creating a magazine advertisement or leaflet that will enable readers to peel away the paper to reveal an image underneath and information regarding the body part I want to provide information about and also potential icons to effectively communicate visually much like that of an infographic.





My visualisation for magazine ad

peel away ad


Infographic icon development




Campaign name ideas


Effects of cannabis on specific body parts



This is some information i have incoerperated into my gurilla marketing camapign about the effect of regular cannabis use on the brain,lungs and heart.

Guerilla marketing and ideas


I jotted down some ideas of my target audience and what they do where they socialise and what equipment they use to consume cannabis in order to trigger potential ideas.



I decided to measure up the roling paper packets in order for my inserts to be to the correct size, I also did this with the tobacco and condom packet as well as the grinder.


Prototyping Guerilla Marketing ideas


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I decided after much inquiry that guerilla marketing would have the strongest impact upon viewers as it is very different to what has already been done before, therefore i felt it wouls result in forcing users of cannabis to take in some of the information as it will be incorperated into the equipment they use to consume cannabis as well as condom packets playing on the information I have gathered that reguar annabis use can affect fertitlity in males.


This is my final mockup for my guerrilla marketing campaign for a tobacco packet insert and also some inserts that could be incorporated into a cannabis grinder that contains information about how cannabis affects the brain.


Here you can see the set of inserts that I have created to be inside of a cannabis grinder in order to inform regular users as to the implications cannabis can have on the brain. I have chosen to inform about the brain over the other body parts as I feel the grinder can be used as a metaphor to replicate a person grinding up their brain when consuming the drug.



Initial digital mock ups and ideas 

cannabis with exposed brain 1

This is a quick visual mock up I have done of what I want my visuals to look like, I want the body part that is included into my campaign to be made up of cannabis in order to make it both identifiable and relatable as to the substance I want to inform the public about, which is clearly cannabis. I also want a part of the cannabis to be rubbed away or peeled away and underneath a less abstract and more serious image of the body part is revealed in order to make viewers think and communicate that this is actually what cannabis is doing to your body in potentially an infographic style in order to provide facts as to the implications that occur from smoking cannabis to the specific areas I am going to include in my campaign.

another brain design

I have created this visual design based on my sketches and also the inspiration I have gathered from carrying out research, I feel this visual style is more effective and more aesthetically pleasing than my initial design and the rub away effect is more obvious.

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This design features an effect in order to visualise that the cannabis bud has been peeled back and ripped like paper in order to uncover and reveal what cannabis actually has an effect on underneath, which in this case is the brain.

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This visual design is also based on the same theme as my previous design but instead I have made the brain out of cannabis appear punctured in order to reveal and image of a photo realistic brain in order to make my message more clear and identifiable for viewers.

cannabis with exposed lungI have also digitally created this visualisation of a pair of lungs created out of cannabis buds like my brain design in order for my designs to be consistent, I feel this body part is communicated successfully as it follows the shape and form of an actual pair of lungs this is further emphasised through an actual lung appearing through the peeling back of the cannabis bud.

cannabis with exposed lung

I have also recreated this design in order to create a consistent visual design as to my brain design, in order to see if it will work as a set, I feel this does work but I need to play around with imagery and select a better image for the lungs. This design is based on a brush revealing and painting over the image of the cannabis in order to showcase the photorealistic lungs.

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I feel this design is more effective than the brush stroke effect I applied to my previous design as this design appears as if the cannabis has been peeled and ripped away in order to portray and showcase the body part long term cannabis abuse actually has an effect on, which in this case is the lungs.

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This is another design I have created based on the theme of reveal, I feel this visualisation is effective as it shows and communicates my intention which is to reveal the body part affected by regularly smoking cannabis.

cannabis with exposed brain 1

I have tried to create and visualise a brain made of cannabis from a person who frequently smokes cannabis in order to communicate the message that cannabis is taking  over the mind of users as they constantly use the substance. I have also used this style of design in order to communicate the effects cannabis can have on the brain of the user. I have used the x ray style in order to communicate reveal as that is what an x ray essentially is a revealing of under the body what people can’t see and I feel this can be used in order to communicate the effects of cannabis as they don’t become apparent straight away they start to take place after time. In order to further this design I could incorporate a skull into the design in order to further communicate and visualise the brain and cannabis.

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I have added the cannabis brain to an actual skull and have edited the appearance in order for the design to appear realistic for viewers, I feel this image further communicates the the cannabis is actually a brain due to the incorporation of the skull.

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I have then created this design based on lungs made out of cannabis in order for my design to be consistent and follow a visual theme that can then be used across a campaign. I have made the image appear as if it is an X-ray in order to communicate my theme which is revealing and X-rays are also used in order to determine the health of something whether that be bad or good.

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I have developed my design in order to further communicate the body part in which I am going to provide information about, which in this case is the lungs, as I have incorporated an image of an X-ray of a person and their rib cages and have edited the style of the image in order to be consistent with my lungs made out of cannabis.

Final campaign visulas based on cannabis and body parts

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I chosen to have these design as my final images for the campaign regarding the brain, lungs and heart as I feel proportionally it is better and enables me to communicate the body part my campaign is based on more clearly.

Forms of advertising 



These are two examples of advertising I have found regarding drug abuse in order to see how I could incorporate this form of advertising into my campaign in order to gain attention to the effects of cannabis in unexpected places. These two examples I have gathered work as the first one, which is a from of ambient media has been placed on a cigarette bin and when people interact and place their cigarette ends in the bin it starts to create a message and an image as the image of the lungs are translucent so the cigarettes can be seen giving the illusion that the lungs are full with cigarettes.  The second one has been designed in the layout of Facebook in order for it to be instantly familiar with viewers as Facebook is used world wide, they have edited certain specific features on Facebook such as your timeline with the use of drugs, in order to see the change that can occur from choosing to stop substance abuse.


Example of my ambient media

lift media

This is a mock up visualisation I have created of what my idea could potentially look like if used as an ambient media piece on an elevator, I feel this idea could be sucesful as it enables me to reveal the body part cannabis has an effect on through the natural movement of sliding doors, like on an elevator.

Potential names for the campaign

  • Cannabis can
  • Under the skin
  • Up in smoke

I feel Up In Smoke would be a good name for my campaign as it communicates “smoke” which is associated with consuming cannabis through inhaling the substance and it is also a method of taking cannabis. Up in smoke can also communicate not being in the clear as to the implications of cannabis for regular users of the drug and also something being wasted and worn away.

Guerilla marketing

I have chosen to create a Guerilla marketing campaign as oppose to ambient media as I feel if frequent users of cannabis find messages regarding their usage within the equipment they use to consume the drug it will have more of a personal and shocking effect on them as oppose to just a standard leaflet and poster as they wont be expecting negative messages inside their equipment such as skins and tobacco etc.

Guerilla marketing is an advertisement strategy concept designed for businesses to promote their products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend.


Digital designs for Guerilla Marketing campaign

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This is my inital idea and design regarding the rolling paper idea of being inserted inside the packet so when opened the user will recieve a piece of paper with the implications of cannabis on it in order to inform them.

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I applied the same idea to a packet of tobacco but in the form of a little leaflet to be placed inside the packet at the front of the tobacco pouch so it cant be ignored.

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Based on feedback and some deliberation I decided I  would change the colours in order for my designs to visually contrast and have more aesthetic value in order for my target audience to pay attention.

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Here is the rolling paper with some contrasting colour applied to it i just the colour green to resemble cannabis and orange because of fire as it resembles a lighter and consuming the drug through smoking it.

Final guerilla marketing visuals

Cannabis skins

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Here is my final set of skins I have created for my guerrilla marketing campaign based on development of design and considerations of colour.

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Here is a mock up visualization of my cannabis grinder inserts and brain sweets that can be grinded by the public inside of the grinder in order to communicate what cannabis can be potentially doing to regular users brains.

Cannabis grinder inserts

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Condom packet insert

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Tobacco packet inserts

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Furthering campaign

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Final exhibition




I showcased my final guerrilla marketing campaign regarding the use of cannabis and the effects it can have on specific parts of the body at my exhibition. I gained positive feedback from viewers and they liked the idea of incorperating it into equipment that people use to  inhale the drug, they also liked the aesthetics of the overall campaign as they said it was eyecatching and professionally consistent, the only critisism I recieved from a small number of people was that the type wasnt the most legible.

Example of guerrilla marketing

An example of a successful guerrilla marketing campaign would be Brian Glenney and Sara Hendren’s campaign tackling disability and the signage incorporated into the open.

Hendren and Glenney thought the symbol made the chair look more important and visible than the person sitting on it. So they came up with their own version, in which the figure was leaning forward, elbows out, as if about to push off in some direction. The pair went around pasting a transparent sticker featuring their redesign over the old symbol in public places, so that people could see both old and new. Although the new symbol has not been formally adopted, it is being used by several educational institutions, private companies, and hospitals, and is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

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Potential information to use regarding campaign 

Some people find it affects their memory, making it harder to remember things.

It makes some people feel confused, anxious or paranoid, and some experience panic attacks and hallucinations. These effects are particularly common with stronger forms of cannabis, such as skunk and sinsemilla.

If you use cannabis regularly it can make you demotivated and uninterested in other things going on in your life, such as education or work. Long-term use can affect your ability to learn and to concentrate.

If you regularly smoke cannabis with tobacco, you’re likely to get addicted to nicotine and may develop tobacco-related illnesses, such as cancer and coronary heart disease. If you cut down or give up, you will experience withdrawal from nicotine as well as cannabis.

If you smoke it, cannabis can be harmful to your lungs. Like tobacco, it contains cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) that increase your risk of lung cancer. It can also make asthma worse, and cause wheezing in people without asthma. If you mix cannabis with tobacco and smoke it, the risks to your lungs are higher.

Cannabis may affect your fertility. Research done in animals suggests that cannabis can disrupt sperm production in males and ovulation in females.

If you are pregnant, cannabis may harm your unborn babyResearch suggests that using cannabis during pregnancy could affect your baby’s brain development. Regularly smoking cannabis with tobacco is associated with an increased risk of your baby being born small or premature.

Cannabis can harm your mental health. Regular use is associated with an increased risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia. A psychotic illness is one where you experience hallucinations (when you see things that aren’t really there) and delusions (when you believe things that aren’t really true). Your risk of developing a psychotic illness is higher if you start using cannabis in your teens and if you have a family history of mental illness. Cannabis use has also been shown to increase the risk of a relapse in people who have schizophrenia, and could make existing symptoms worse.

Source : http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/drugs/Pages/cannabis-facts.aspx

Theme for campaign

The theme for my campaign is based on revealing and uncovering as I feel this can be used in order to communicate and in a sense reveal specific information regarding the use of cannabis that regular users may not be familiar with nor know about. The definition of the word revealing is making interesting or significant information known, especially of a personal nature, so this is what I am trying to visualise within my designs and the overall theme of my campaign.

Effects of cannabis on the brain 

Substantial evidence from animal research and a growing number of studies in humans indicate that marijuana exposure during development can cause long-term or possibly permanent adverse changes in the brain.

Rats exposed to THC before birth, soon after birth, or during adolescence show notable problems with specific learning and memory tasks later in life.

Cognitive impairments in adult rats exposed to THC during adolescence are associated with structural and functional changes in the hippocampus.

Studies in rats also show that adolescent exposure to THC is associated with an altered reward system, increasing the likelihood that an animal will self-administer other drugs (e.g., heroin) when given an opportunity.

The latter findings may help explain the results of a large longitudinal study conducted in New Zealand, which found that frequent and persistent marijuana use starting in adolescence was associated with a loss of an average of 8 IQ points measured in mid-adulthood. Significantly, in that study, those who used marijuana heavily as teenagers and quit using as adults did not recover the lost IQ points. Users who only began using marijuana heavily in adulthood did not lose IQ points. These results suggest that marijuana has its strongest long-term impact on young users whose brains are still busy building new connections and maturing in other ways.


The chances of getting addicted to marijuana increase if you’re a daily user or if you start when you’re a teen. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana addiction goes up to about 17 percent in those who start using young (in their teens) and to 25 to 50 percent among daily users.

Marijuana these days can cause changes in the brain that impair learning, especially in teenagers as their brains have not finished developing. Brains are not fully developed until the age of 25 or 26. Chronic marijuana use can lead to changes in both personality, judgment, and reasoning skills.

Pot damages the heart and lungs, increases the incidence of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, and it can trigger acute psychotic episodes. Many adults appear to be able to use marijuana with relatively little harm, but the same cannot be said of adolescents, who are about twice as likely as adults to become addicted to marijuana.

Much of the marijuana available today is more potent than it was in the past, so the potential exists for it to have more intense deleterious effects on the user. Medical professionals are seeing more emergency room visits with excessive vomiting, and with adolescents, there is greater risk of psychosis and delirium.


Short-term effects

When a person smokes marijuana, THC quickly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. The blood carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. The body absorbs THC more slowly when the person eats or drinks it. In that case, the user generally feels the effects after 30 minutes to 1 hour.

THC acts on specific brain cell receptors that ordinarily react to natural THC-like chemicals in the brain. These natural chemicals play a role in normal brain development and function.

Marijuana overactivates parts of the brain that contain the highest number of these receptors. This causes the “high” that users feel. Other effects include:

  • altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • altered sense of time
  • changes in mood
  • impaired body movement
  • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • impaired memory

Long-term effects

Marijuana also affects brain development. When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions.

Marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent.

For example, a study showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and had an ongoing cannabis use disorder lost an average of eight IQ points between ages 13 and 38. The lost mental abilities did not fully return in those who quit marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana as adults did not show notable IQ declines (Meier, 2012).

A Rise in Marijuana’s THC Levels

The amount of THC in marijuana has been increasing steadily over the past few decades (Mehmedic, 2010). For a new user, this may mean exposure to higher THC levels with a greater chance of a harmful reaction. Higher THC levels may explain the rise in emergency room visits involving marijuana use.

The popularity of edibles also increases the chance of users having harmful reactions. Edibles take longer to digest and produce a high. Therefore, people may consume more to feel the effects faster, leading to dangerous results.

Dabbing is yet another growing trend. More people are using marijuana extracts that provide stronger doses, and therefore stronger effects, of THC.

Higher THC levels may mean a greater risk for addiction if users are regularly exposing themselves to high doses.

Physical effects of cannabis

  • Breathing problems.Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have the same breathing problems that tobacco smokers have. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections. Researchers still do not know whether marijuana smokers have a higher risk for lung cancer.
  • Increased heart rate.Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack. Older people and those with heart problems may be at higher risk.
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy.Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug may affect certain developing parts of the fetus’s brain. Resulting challenges for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving. Additionally, some research suggests that moderate amounts of THC are excreted into the breast milk of nursing mothers. The effects on a baby’s developing brain are still unknown.

Mental effects

Long-term marijuana use has been linked to mental illness in some users, such as:

  • temporary hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not
  • temporary paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
  • worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia (a severe mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking)

Marijuana use has also been linked to other mental health problems, such as:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • suicidal thoughts among teens



Effects of cannabis on the lungs

Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.

Beyond just what’s in the smoke alone, marijuana is typically smoked differently than tobacco. Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar.

Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more.

What lung conditions is cannabis linked to?

The report says that although cannabis is the world’s most widely used illicit drug, there is surprisingly little research into its effects on lung health, with far less reseacrh into the effects of cannabis smoke than tobacco smoke. However, it says there is now research showing that the active component, THC, can suppress the immune system and that cannabis smokers may be at risk of:

  • respiratory problems such as chronic coughing, wheezing, sputum production, acute bronchitis, airway obstruction
  • infective lung conditions such as tuberculosis and Legionnaire’s disease
  • pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
  • lung cancer – one study, which was widely quoted in the papers, suggested that smoking just one cannabis cigarette a day for one year increases the risk of developing lung cancer by a similar amount to smoking 20 tobacco cigarettes for the same period. It concluded that 5% of lung cancers in those aged 55 or under may be caused by smoking cannabis.

However, the report points out that there is a lack of conclusive evidence as to the possible effect that smoking cannabis has on lung function and the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There is evidence that smoking cannabis with tobacco leads to a greater risk of COPD than smoking tobacco alone.


Lung Health and Marijuana Smoke

Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung. Research shows that smoking marijuana causes chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis.

Smoking marijuana has also been linked to cases of air pockets in between both lungs and between the lungs and the chest wall, as well as large air bubbles in the lungs among young to middle-aged adults, mostly heavy smokers of marijuana. However, it’s not possible to establish whether these occur more frequently among marijuana smokers than the general population.

Smoking marijuana can harm more than just the lungs and respiratory system – it can also affect the immune system and the body’s ability to fight disease, especially for those whose immune systems are already weakened from immunosuppressive drugs or diseases, such as HIV infection.

Smoking marijuana hurts the lungs’ first line of defense against infection by killing cells that help remove dust and germs as well as causing more mucus to be formed. In addition, it also suppresses the immune system. These effects could lead to an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections among marijuana smokers, although there is no clear evidence of such actual infections being more common among marijuana smokers. However, frequent marijuana-only smokers have more healthcare visits for respiratory conditions compared to nonsmokers.

Studies have shown that smoking marijuana may increase the risk of opportunistic infections among those who are HIV positive, although it does not seem to effect the development of AIDS or lower white cell counts.

Another potential threat to those with weakened immune systems is Aspergillus, a mold that can cause lung disorders. It can grow on marijuana, which if then smoked exposes the lungs to this fungus. However, it rarely causes problems in people with healthy immune systems.


  1. We don’t know what it will do to your heart. There are several documented studies that show that marijuana use is associated with increased heart rate and fluctuations in blood pressure, which may be implicated in developing heart attacks or strokes.More recently, a study in Journal of the American Heart Association reported that there are potential cardiovascular dangers to young adults using marijuana.While research is still limited, what we do know appears to show a damaging effect on the cardiovascular system, Dr. Insler says.“We need more studies to understand how marijuana affects people and their hearts, but with what we know so far, I believe it would be imprudent to recommend marijuana use to those with cardiovascular risk factors,” he says.
  2. We don’t know what it will do to your lungs and blood vessels. Apart from the effects that marijuana use has on the body, the delivery method for the drug raises other concerns.Smoking marijuana can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels. It can also lead to increased risk for mini-stroke — a danger for anyone, but of particular risk for patients with existing heart and circulatory problems.As an alternative, people might consider eating marijuana in foods such as cookies or brownies, but this also poses a risk because there is no reliable way to prescribe proper dosing or portion size. Increasing genetic manipulation of marijuana types and strains further muddies this picture. The effects are unpredictable.
  3. We don’t know what it will do to your brain. Ongoing studies have found links between marijuana and mental health problems, including bipolar disease. Marijuana use also has links to depression, physical inactivity and social isolation, all factors that worsen outcomes for heart patients.“Marijuana may at least be a component cause of psychosis,”Dr. Insler says. At least three meta-analyses (12 and 3) suggest this. Further, this association appears to be related to the dose, meaning that more frequent or heavier users face an increased risk.

4 Reasons for Heart Patients to be Cautious About Marijuana

Effects of cannabis on the heart

The danger of smoking cannabis with tobacco is that it can cause cardiovascular disease.

Cannabis use can increase heart rate for up to as much as three hours after use.

Cannabis can cause a rise in heart rate and also blood pressure.

People with heart problems may be more prone to a heart attack.

Regular cannabis use can cause Heart arrhythmias (or irregular heartbeats)

Evaluation for Specialist Project

The brief stated for us to develop an individual, specialized practice within your chosen degree scheme, preparing you for the more self-directed nature of study at level six and allowing you to further develop creative thinking, project planning and management skills.

My target audience for this brief was aimed at frequent cannabis users between the ages of 16-19 as from carrying out research and questionnaires I discovered that they was aware to some of the implications but not all of them nor where they worried or interested and I therefore felt that this was an audience that needed to be targeted and informed into some of the implications that can occur from smoking cannabis regularly.

I carried out various research in order to collect examples of current campaigns created highlighting the effects of cannabis in users in order to have a better understanding of the content already out there in order for mine not to be the same. I found the content already out there to be negative as oppose to informative and I feel this can instantly make people uninterested, as the tone of voice isn’t correct. I decided for my tone of voice to be informative, formal and to some extent helpful in order to gain the attention of the my target audience and for viewers to then potentially pass on the information gained in order to spread an informative message or meaning regarding the use of cannabis.

I feel that basing my campaign on guerrilla marketing in order to raise awareness as to some of the long term effects of regular cannabis use on specific parts of the human body will be successful as it will make people look twice and therefore grab their attention as they wont be able to ignore it as it will be incorporated into the equipment they use to inhale the drug and also products relevant to the information of the campaign. Therefore making it more successful than just creating a poster and leaflet that would most probably be situated in a doctors or hospital as I feel it would just be ignored as it has been done plenty of times before, therefore not impacting upon my target audience.

I feel that my guerrilla marketing campaign is fit for purpose as aesthetically I feel it meets my target audience as it is modern and eye catching due to the selection of colour I have used as it makes it stand out amongst the other rolling papers and packaging, this also enables my campaign to be consistent as I stick to a specific colour pallet. The information I have incorporated into my campaign also meets my brief as it informs my target audience to the implications that can occur from regular use of cannabis on specific parts of the body such as the brain, lungs and heart, which was the main aim of my overall campaign.

I could take this project further by actually placing pieces of my guerrilla marketing into actual products that are on sale to the public to use to consume cannabis in products such as rolling papers and tobacco, in order to see the reaction they cause and whether it is positive or negative. I could also contact marketers in order to gain greater exposure for the campaign and to see if the campaign could be potentially be used across the UK.

I encountered a few problems before coming to my final decision for my campaign as initially I was just going to do a leaflet and a poster based on info graphics but I decided against it as I felt it wasn’t strong enough to gain the attention of my target audience as it has been done before and people are experts at ignoring information in the form of leaflets and posters, I then thought about creating some ambient media to supports my campaign but I feel some of the ambient media pieces out there look forced and I didn’t want my campaign to look forced as it will have a negative impact on what I want to do which is to inform regular users.

I feel I could improve the communication of my information included into my guerrilla marketing campaign as I have chosen to just have my information displayed through copy and I feel this might make viewers instantly put off from taking in the information, I could improve this by developing my info graphics in order to make my campaign more visual. I could also maybe use a different font in order to improve my campaign as I found out when exhibiting my campaign that a small minority of people didn’t feel they type to be all that legible.

By doing this assignment I have learnt to analyse a range of data and narrow it down for relevancy to meet a specific brief, I have also learnt about various ways of portraying information through various mediums and examples of advertising.

I plan to market my campaign through social media in order to create greater exposure for my campaign and to raise awareness to the implications of cannabis and the impact it can have upon the human body.

Specialist Project